Chihiro Yamanaka, Today Is Another Day, Blue Note ***

The title track and 'Old Days' are Japan born New York based pianist Chihiro Yamanaka's compositions. Keith Jarrett's 'So Tender' (Standards Vol 2, ECM, 1985) a minute or so shorter than the Standards version and containing less dark a sonority, …

Published: 25 Dec 2022. Updated: 34 days.

The title track and 'Old Days' are Japan born New York based pianist Chihiro Yamanaka's compositions. Keith Jarrett's 'So Tender' (Standards Vol 2, ECM, 1985) a minute or so shorter than the Standards version and containing less dark a sonority, Osvaldo Farrés 'Tres Parablas' ('Three Words') from the 1940s covered by Nat King Cole two decades later on the More Cole Español album are also on Today Is Another Day.

Ben Raleigh and Joe Zawinul's 'Midnight Mood' a piece that goes back to Zawinul's Money in the Pocket (Atlantic, 1966) later covered in the 70s by Bill Evans in trio formation at the Vanguard on Since We Met (Fantasy, 1976) is more the template for Yamanaka's accessible treatment. Bob Telson's 'Calling You', Cedar Walton's 'Ojos De Rojo', Denny Zeitlin's 'Quiet Now' and Harold Arlen's 'My Shining Hour' are also on the CD version.

Piano trios are often easy listening especially when there is a lot of dynamic exactitude in the balance between piano and drums - here Yamanaka's long time colleague LaFrae Olivia Sci at the kit.

Bass duties are mainly delivered on acoustic bass with a little electric on the title track, the players at work Jennifer Vincent and Yoshi Waki. Fairly undemanding overall, with a hankering for the 1980s in one solid strand of well-chosen material, but certainly pleasant enough - ideal in any playlist that includes sprinklings of Vince Guaraldi.

Chihiro Yamanaka, photo: publicity shot

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Maxi Jazz has died at the age of 65

Maxi Jazz - the rapper best known for his work with high charting electronica dance act Faithless and who in the 1990s worked with jazz pianist Jason Rebello - has died aged 65. The death of Maxi Jazz (real name Maxwell Fraser) was announced by …

Published: 24 Dec 2022. Updated: 35 days.

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Maxi Jazz - the rapper best known for his work with high charting electronica dance act Faithless and who in the 1990s worked with jazz pianist Jason Rebello - has died aged 65.

The death of Maxi Jazz (real name Maxwell Fraser) was announced by bandmate Sister Bliss.

Maxi Jazz had a very charismatic presence on stage. That much was fairly clear to recall hearing him rap with Rebello on the George Gershwin-DuBose Heyward classic 'Summertime' at a launch in Kensal Green for Rebello's Make It Real (1994) before the rapper and front man even became a star. RIP